Focus on partnership: Africa
With HMC Heads raising funds at their 2015 Annual Conference to provide 1,300,000 child immunisations around the world, Insight catches up with a range of UK-Africa partnership programmes co-managed by HMC schools.
Peterhouse (Zimbabwe): local partnership and fundraising
Needless to say, Peterhouse is very heavily involved with local African schools and charities.
- We donate $10,000 each year for our local primary school St Francis
- We donate over $30,000 each year to Kidzcan (Zimbabwe’s version of supporting children with cancer)
- We do all the sort of things UK schools do in support of local state schools (e.g. we host provincial and national government schools athletics events, etc.)
- Our pupils (via Interact – one of our clubs) visit the local old people’s home, the local orphanage, the local disabled home, etc.)
It would be most helpful if more HMC schools in the UK could consider mounting sports tours (rugby and cricket) in our region of Africa.
Gresham’s: link primary school in Kenya
Gresham’s School has established a strong link with Olpalagilagi Primary School, sited close to the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Ten pupils and two staff travel to Kenya in the summer for a two-week project working with the Cottar’s Wildlife Trust, who partially fund Olpalagilagi. Gresham’s students undertake to learn about Kenya, its history and its people, plan lessons and activities and run a Dog Show to raise charitable funds during the year prior to going on the trip.
Whilst in Kenya the key focus is to work in the school teaching lessons, including a health or environmental message, and to undertake small-scale projects that will benefit the Maasai children and the local population as a whole. During the last three years the groups have helped build a food store, planted trees establishing a shade area on the school site, raised funds to buy much-needed desks and installed a water filter donated from a company through a Gresham’s parent. Last year every pupil at Gresham’s undertook to supply a basic pencil case for distribution to every child at Olpalagilagi School.
Uppingham: orphan support in Tanzania and Kenya
Every year since 2003, all pupils at Uppingham have raised funds through their Boarding Houses for The Mango Tree Orphan Support Programme. Founded by a former pupil and Trustee of Uppingham, after he witnessed the plight of AIDS orphans in Tanzania and Kenya, the target figure is currently set at £15 for each pupil. Total pupil fundraising over the past thirteen years has exceeded £175,000.
Sixth Formers have made regular visits to Tanzania and Kenya to work alongside the charity, and there has been a steady stream of gap-year students, too. An undergraduate Old Uppinghamian completed a work placement at the end of her first year at university (it fitted perfectly with the course she was studying), and one of the Sixth Form team from 2006 has worked for many months for both the Tanzanian and Kenyan branches and took a second Masters degree through SOAS while supporting the overseas teams with monitoring and evaluation.
Ellesmere College: environmental and educational support in Tanzania
Monduli Green is a small charity working in an area in Northern Tanzania near the town of Monduli. We know the local community well and all decisions are made jointly. It has four main aims.
- Environmental improvement. We fund nurseries to grow seedlings which are planted by local village groups or by schools. The land suffers from severe erosion, so the aim is to sustain agricultural use of the land into the future despite climate change.
- Water. We fund water-harvesting systems (mainly guttering and water storage tanks) and also laying water pipes where feasible. We work with villages and schools.
- We arrange sponsorships for twelve students to go to secondary school each year (all-in cost for each: £125 per year) – a total of 23 are being sponsored up to now.
- We fund improvements in educational facilities – usually classrooms and toilets.
- We plan to improve educational experiences and standards in the schools we work with by supporting extra-curricular activities such as sport, music and drama.
- Friendship across cultures. Our students from Ellesmere College and the students of two secondary schools in Monduli live and work together for ten days every summer. In this way many friendships are made.
Dean Close School: secondary school partner in Uganda
Dean Close School, Cheltenham, has enjoyed a link with Nyakatukura Memorial Secondary School in Ibanda, Western Uganda, for over ten years. School parties – post-A level gap-year students and school staff – have visited NMSS on a regular basis and seen the school develop from benches under a mango tree to a well-equipped and self-sufficient school of over 500 pupils. The Headmaster and Chairman of the Board of Governors have twice visited Dean Close.
Every Wednesday afternoon, a group of pupils at Dean Close meet to arrange fundraising events for Uganda. One of the latest big fundraisers was a concert entitled “Songs from the Shows”, which raised over £1,000 to finance a bore hole, allowing the pupils to have constant access to clean water whilst they are being educated. Other smaller fundraising events have included a bake sale, mufti days, school discos and Christmas candy cane sales. All help to raise awareness and funds to support the children and staff at Nyakatukura.
Meanwhile, the Dean Close community also supports an orphan sponsorship scheme helping children in Ibanda with their education. Currently over 100 students are being sponsored in this way.
Oldham Hulme Grammar School: junior high school connection in Ghana
For six years Oldham Hulme Grammar School has been in a partnership with the Kwahu-Tafo Seventh Day Adventist Junior High School in Ghana. Kwahu-Tafo is a rural farming community visited by our deputy head boy, Nilen Vyas, in 2012, and followed by a party of 24 students in 2013. In spring 2014 we hosted the Headteacher of Kwahu-Tafo JHS, Mr Daniel Effah, who left Ghana for the first time to come and stay with us in Oldham. He had never before experienced temperatures lower than 20+ ˚C, and remains the only Headteacher to have sung to our staff briefing on a Friday morning!
We took a further 23 students to Kwahu-Tafo last summer. As a result of our partnership, all of the school buildings have been painted and refurbished using labour from our own students working alongside local tradesmen and students. Currently, a library/staff room is being built with funds provided by Oldham Hulme and we have set up a scholarship fund.
The links between our two schools have a profound effect on everyone involved. Students who aren’t able to travel to Ghana know about the project and support it through a range of charity events and assemblies.
Caterham School: primary school connection in Tanzania
Caterham School has been in partnership with Lerang’wa Primary School in West Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, for nine years. Lerang’wa is a tiny rural community with little infrastructure. Twenty Caterham students and four teachers have visited the school each year to conduct teaching in sport, music, English, maths and art. Fundraising at Caterham School has built teacher accommodation, a toilet facility, kitchen and food store. In conjunction the villagers have improved the water supply and built a hand and plate washing station and seated dining area.
Since the WFP ceased funding food, we have stepped in and now subsidise the in-school meals. We also fund basic medicines for the lowest income pupils. Last year we supported and hosted a visit by the Headmistress of Lerang’wa School to Caterham School. After so many years and so much activity, Lerang’wa has become ingrained in the students’ consciousness here at Caterham, and the reverse is true at Lerang’wa.
Kingston Grammar School: link through-school in Ghana
In the summer of 2012, Kingston Grammar School initiated a partnership with a school in Ghana, West Africa. The idea originally sprung from a former KGS student, who spent part of his gap-year at Sacred Heart School in central Ghana teaching English
and Music. Over the past four years, we have developed a successful annual gap-year programme for alumni to teach in Sacred Heart. The school is in a beautiful setting, sitting on a gentle sloping hillside in the middle of the rainforest, overlooking a typical Ghanaian town. It has 200 students aged 2-16 and is expanding rapidly.
A group of sixteen Sixth Formers visited the school in 2014 having first raised over £12,000 through musical concerts, fun runs and the three Peaks Challenge. This provided for new IT equipment, a sanitation block and library which were decorated as part of their trip. The students also were able to interact with and teach the local pupils, as well as competing in a number of hardfought football games! Most recently, three of our teaching staff visited Sacred Heart to observe lessons and give teacher workshops.
West Buckland School: secondary school bond in Kenya
West Buckland School in Devon and Agoro Oyombe Secondary School in western Kenya have just celebrated the tenth year of their partnership. The school was founded in the late 1980s with one teacher and two pupils. There are now 14 teachers and about 500 pupils. In order to be a successful and long-lasting partnership, it has been important that both schools have had an equal say in the development planning. It is this equitable model, along with positive professional and personal relationships, that has been the driver of the link. The focus has been on joint curriculum projects, centred on geography but occasionally branching out into other subject areas. A wide range of activities has ensued.
- Surveys and letters on carbon footprints, migration, quality of life and a comparison of both schools’ climate data. Stereotypes Kenyan and British teenagers hold about each other have been dispelled.
- Recently, Africa Week was held at West Buckland while Europe Week took place at Agoro Oyombe. Examples of topics studied in the former were economic growth in Africa and West African music while in the latter the Soviet Union and the polders of the Netherlands were investigated.
- Agoro Oyombe has planted 4,000 trees with benefits including a focus for lessons in agriculture, fuel for the kitchen,
construction materials as the school expands, electricity poles that can be sold on the local market, a reduction in surface
run-off, an increase in nutrient supply to the soil, a windbreak for the playing fields and shade for football spectators.
- The most recent stage of the partnership involved a trip for twenty West Buckland students to Kenya in the summer of 2015
where they joined their Kenyan peers in their lessons and enjoyed many discussions on aspects of their respective countries.
During the visit, the latest in a series of sports matches took place.
- Since 2013 almost £5,000 has been raised to build two new classrooms at Agoro Oyombe which provide new learning environments for over one hundred students.
This is an edited version of an article in issue 6 of HMC Insight Magazine. Click here to view the full article.